Monday, October 31, 2011

Fuzzy Thinking

Just after I walked in the door from school with Gabe, Angel says, "Gabe's teacher called. He threw up at school."  I look at Gabe.
"I'm so sick," he says. He has been with me for the last 20 minutes but never said anything before this.
"I think that you should drink water." Gabe drank a few cups of water over the next half hour. Soon he is begging to eat. "I want you to wait a while to see how you do with the water before you eat anything."
Gabe starts to argue. "But Dad said I can. He has my stomach."
"What?" I ask. I want to be sure I heard straight.
"It's because of you," Gabe replies. I can see this conversation is going nowhere, so I decide not to reply.
Soon Angel comes into the room and sits beside me. We exchange a few sentences about baby Maree who is asleep in her arms. Then the conversation drops. For a minute there is silence. Then Gabe points his finger and says, "Just leave her alone. I said leave Angel alone!" This is totally out of the blue.
Today has been better than yesterday (Big bad mouth day), but not as good as some days.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Big bad mouth

How can a kid be so sweet and good one day and so rotten and nasty the next? Yesterday Gabe was sweet and loving most of the day. He woke up this morning still in a relatively good mood, but with in a short time it really went down hill.
The day was filled with many ridiculous comments, arguments and mean words. Gabe is asked to do chores on many, but not all days. One of the chores that he is able to do is sweep the stairs. This is not a hard job. It involves a small soft brush and a dust pan.
This morning I tell him that the stairs need swept. "Do I have to?" he whines.
"Yes, please do."
"Why do I have to sweep the stairs?" he whines. This time a bit of sassy argumentative tone also comes into his voice.
"Because they need it and it is your job," I tell him.
"Guards arrest this woman!" he shouts. "She should be taken to prison now. It's because of you Susan! Dad said I don't have to!" All of this is said in a very angry tone.
"You need to calm down and sweep the stairs," I say.
"I'm telling Dad. What have you done with him? Where did you take him?" More angry demands.
"You know he went camping and will be back later today."
"It's because of you," he scowls. "You are so mean to me."
"Stop talking and sweep the stairs before you get into trouble," I say. Gabe thrusts his face at me with his teeth barred much like an angry dog. "Enough, now sweep." I use a stern tone.
Gabe swipes at the stairs getting about half of the dust. All of the corners have been missed. This is the usual way it goes with him. "I'm done and you can't stop me!" he says very rudely.
"Let's check to see if all of the dirt is gone," I say. "The point of sweeping to to get rid of the dirt." I began to point to a few of the missed areas.
"Will you just leave me alone," Gabe waves the dust pan in my face.
"Put the dustpan down and listen," I say. At this point I am choosing to keep my voice very even.
"Just go away." shoulder and elbow up towards me, "I'm getting it.
"You had better get it all. I will che...." Gabe interrupts again with a bunch of nonsense yelling at me. "Stop talking," I say. "All that is coming out of your mouth is very rude this morning."
"But you.." he starts in an accusing tone.
"Enough! No more talking. Sweep and think about using nice words."
"But you are being mean to me." He still argues pointing his finger.
"Quiet and put your hand down." I turn and walk away quickly. I do not want to continue arguing. What has brought this on, I wonder.
As the day progressed there were several nonsense arguments and accusations. One of them involved a movie that he has watched too many times recently. Gabe keeps asking me if my dad likes a certain imaginary object from this movie. I tell him that Grandpa doesn't watch TV or movies. "Just answer me now! I said does your dad like ...? "
"Grandpa is my dad, and he hasn't watched that movie."
"No! Grandpa is MINE!" Gabe butts right in. "I had him first! I SAID, does your dad like...?"
"No he doesn't!" I say.
"I SAID, does your" Gabe is shouting. This time I butt in, "DO NOT ask that question again! It does not make any sense. You have not listened to anything that I am tel.."
Gabe shouts, "I SAID.."
"Close your mouth!" I demand. "You are done talking for a while. Not another word." Gabe has asked and asked that same ridiculous question several times already today. He kept asking it several times a few days ago. I have already told him that he cannot ask it again, because there is no real answer to it. This has not stopped him from asking and getting nastier each time. What is printed here is the short version. It has gone on and on.
After being told that it is a nice day and he cannot watch a movie at this time, Gabe storms out of the house. "I can if I want!" he shouts as he goes out of the door.
About 10 minutes later I finish the task that I am working on in the house. There is much yard work to do. Gabe has been instructed that since he is the teenage boy in the household, it is his job to rake the leaves. It is a big yard and I know that he can't do it all. It has rained much of the week, but has been nice for 2 days now. No raking happened yesterday so there is much to do today. I decide that I am going to rake for a while today. Gabe is swinging on the tree swing when I enter the yard. "You can't come out!" he shouts. I have already gone several rounds with him today that have included instruction and time standing by the wall. I decide to act as if I haven't heard. I pick up the rake and begin to rake a little way from where he is sitting. "Do not touch that rake," he yells. "I said put it down now!"
At this point I drop the rake and go to where he is. "OK," I say, "if I'm not going to rake these leaves then you are. The job needs done and someone has to do it."
Gabe looks shocked. He has been so busy making demands that he has not thought through what he is saying. "But I just can't. I'm having a stroke," he argues. I have no idea where he has heard about strokes. He grabs his chest, "See it's a stroke right here."  I do not know whether to laugh or scream.
"Go get the rake and get busy." The ridiculous arguments continue for a few more rounds with him coming up with bizarre excuses and me replying with "rake the leaves." Finally I say, "Not another word. Rake!" And then I walked away.
These are just a few of the ridiculous things that went on today. It went all day long. When the guys got home Gabe started right in with them. I could hear him outside making all kinds of crazy demands and insisting that I said he could do it. The thing that he was arguing most about was a party that he decided was going on somewhere and he had to go. In reality there was not party to go to. He continued to insist, "Mom said I could." He had gone through this with me earlier in the day but it was "Dad said I could. He's going to take me." No amount of explaining would convince him. He ended up facing the wall again. But nothing stopped him from talking nonsense, making crazy demands and saying rude things. Even as he was headed for bed he was announcing, "I have no school tomorrow. I'm not going."
"Believe me, there is school and you are going." I feel bad for the sub teacher that will be there, but then tomorrow is a whole other day and we could be back on sweet and nice. I hope we are for that sub teachers sake, not to mention my peace of mind.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Bee

"Come quickly, there's a bee in my room!" Gabe called.
"I can't come right now," I answered. "Just go get your shower and you will be ok."
A few minutes later - "It's Okay. I killed him dead three times." he called down the stairs.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I was washing dishes in the kitchen when I heard a very strange sound that must have come from the bathroom upstairs. As I headed toward the stairs Angel stated that she also had heard a worry some noise. I ran up the stairs and from Gabe standing in a puddle of water. There was water all over the floor. His bath towel was laying in the middle of the mess. He was standing there silently with the light off. I think he wanted it all to just disappear. I know I did. I was trying to hurry through dishes and now this mess.
Gabe had decided the the toilet needed plunging. That was obvious by the soaking wet plunger sitting in a puddle on the floor. Gabe wasn't talking. He just began to cry. He has been told repeatedly that if the toilet does not work right - don't not flush again - don't do anything - just tell an adult that it is not working. I let him know that he would be punished for the mess. He also had to just stand in the bathtub while I cleaned it all up. He stood there and sobbed. For once there was no arguing or blaming others. Just apparent remorse.
I think he was trying to be grown up. The trouble is - every time he decides that he is grown up enough to do something that has been forbidden a mess happens. It just never works out right! It is best to just follow the rules. There are good reasons for them.


Gabe was playing outside. Suddenly he ran down the driveway and knocked on the door.
"Come in," I called. "You live here." Gabe still knocks sometimes instead of just coming in. When he was little his parents repeatedly reminded him that you knock when you go to someone's house, you don't just charge right in. He visited us many times in his early years, with many reminders to knock. Now sometimes he still knocks and won't come in until someone opens the door.
Gabe continued knocking. I decided to just go open the door. There he stood with 3 small twigs with bright red leaves on them. "I've brought you flowers!" he exclaimed in a flamboyant way.
"Well thank you!" I said, trying not to laugh.
After giving me a big hug he said, "Now go put them in water on the kitchen table before they die."
I debated informing him that they were leaves or just going along with the flowers thing. I decided to just go ahead and put them in water.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Who kicked me?

The other day we were at a restaurant. We were sitting in a booth. Gabe was seated across from me. He got up to get more salad. When he came back he ever so lightly bumped my foot as he got in.
"Hey, why did you kick me?" he demanded.
"I didn't kick you. My foot was still." I said.
"I'm telling Dad. She kicked me!," Gabe says to Dirk. In all of his moving around Gabe bumps my foot again. "She just kicked me again!" he exclaims.
"I have not moved my foot," I said. "You are moving around and have just barely bumped my foot. I wouldn't even say anything about it except you are making up stuff about me."
"She kicked me, " Gabe continued. He said it several times. "Arrest her."
"Listen, " Dirk said. "You have to know the difference between being kicked and a light bump. No one kicked you. You bumped her." This conversation cycles through a few more times before Gabe gives up his accusations and eats.
We go through these types of conversations daily. On a really good once in a blue moon day, we manage to get by without one of these types of conversations. Most days have a few of them. Really bad days, the nonsense will go off and on for hours. Sometimes the accusations come out of thin air. Nothing has happened, Gabe is just accusing. He can be so cute and sweet one minute and then suddenly very argumentative the next minute.
After Gabe calmed down about the foot incident, he just kept looking out of the window and giggling. There seemed to be nothing in particular out there. Whatever it was, he found it funny. He was so cute about it.
However, on the way out of the restaurant, Gabe announces that Angel can't ride with us. "There's just no room."
"I bought this van. It is mine. I like to share my van. Because I am sharing, there is lots of room for Angel." I wanted to model sharing for Gabe. He still whines if anyone touches his stuff. He can also be very grabby and quickly claims anything that he sees that he likes. We have heard way too many selfish "MINE" incidents. I have made a conscious decision to verbally share.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

New Baby

Angel came home from the hospital with baby Maree on a Tuesday night.  Of course Maree was awake off and on all night long. I had taken some days off of work to stay home with Angel and the baby and got up through out out the night with them. I could hear Gabe turning in his bed in the next room.
I had decided to let Gabe stay home from school the first day that the baby was home. Most mornings when I go in to get him up he shouts things like - get out of my room or I'm going to call the cops - or -I don't have school today so go away - I'm too tired, I just feel sick so get out. Wednesday morning Maree was crying with every ounce of energy she could muster. This was about 15 minutes after Gabe usually gets up. This morning he got out of bed with out the usual complaints. Instead he stood in the hall with his hands over his ears complaining that the baby was crying in his ears.
"She's crying in my ears," Angel said. Gabe didn't seem to notice the comment.
"Make her stop. What's wrong with her?" he asked.
"You don't have to be up," I said. "You don't have to go to school today."
"Oh yes I do!" He declared. "I need to ride a bus NOW. Get me to the bus.What's wrong with her?" The conversation went around a few more times.
Gabe went into our bedroom where Dirk was getting ready for work. I could hear Dirk explaining over and over that babies cry. They cry a lot sometimes.  Finally Gabe gave up and crawled back into bed. I was glad he did. I was so tired that I wanted a few more hours of sleep.Maree stopped crying and we all got a little more sleep.
I have never heard Gabe beg to go to school before.


Earlier this summer Gabe, Angel, and I attended a good old fashioned Camp Meeting. We stayed in a tent all week. Gabe really enjoyed the classes for the 7-9 year olds.
On Friday he came back to the tent with a tiny flower pot. "It's flowers," he said."We put them in this morning."
"What kind?" I asked.
"I said it's flowers!" he replied.
I added a little water to the dirt and set the pot on the dash board of the truck. By Saturday morning there was a little green 'knuckle' sticking out of the dirt. Later that day the flower was up enough to start opening it's leaves and there was another little green knuckle. By Sunday morning it was obvious that there were 3 flowers in the pot. I put the pot in the cup holder. As we drove the 2 hour trip home a total of 6 flowers came up out of the dirt. The first one grew and additional inch. It was like watching slow motion photography only it was happening right in front of us.
About a week after we got home I transplanted the flowers into the garden. 4 of them survived.This picture was taken about 3 months later.
Several more blooms appeared after the picture was taken.